Install Drush for Drupal 7

Learning Drush with Drupal 7, Part 1

February 11, 2014
Development, Footer, Drupal

This is the first article in New Media Campaigns' blog series on learning Drush with Drupal 7.  Since we serve a number of clients as a Drupal web design firm, these posts are meant to share some of our tips for how we effectively and efficiently build out sites for clients.

What is Drush?

Drush is "a command line shell and scripting interface for Drupal." It is short for Drupal Shell. You can use Drush to download Drupal, install Drupal using a default or custom install profile, manage Drupal modules, sync a local Drupal website with remote staging and production servers, and lots more.

Simply put, you can perform administrative tasks far more efficiently with Drush than you can with the Drupal administration control panel in the web browser. An efficient Drupal 7 developer must use Drush.

Install Drush

First thing's first. You have to download and install the Drush command-line software. There are a few ways you can do this.

With a package manager

If you are running Linux, you can most likely install Drush with the operating system's native package manager. Keep in mind your operating system's package manager may install an older version.

For Ubuntu/Debian:

sudo apt-get install drush

For CentOS/RHEL:

sudo yum install drush

For OS X with Homebrew:

brew install drush

With Composer

If you have Composer installed on your system, you can use it to install Drush.

composer global require drush/drush:6.*

You'll also want to make sure the Composer binaries directory is added to your system path.

sed -i '1i export PATH="$HOME/.composer/vendor/bin:$PATH"' $HOME/.bashrc


You can also manually download and install Drush, but you must have Composer already installed first. When you're ready to manually install Drush:

# Create a bin directory for your user account and add to system path
mkdir $HOME/bin
echo "PATH=$HOME/bin:$PATH" >> ~/.bashrc
source ~/.bashrc

# Download and unzip the Drush software
wget -O $HOME/bin/
unzip -d $HOME/bin $HOME/bin/

# Install Drush dependencies with Composer (assumes `composer` is on system PATH)
cd $HOME/bin/drush-master
composer install

# Create a symbolic link
ln -s $HOME/bin/drush-master/drush $HOME/bin/drush

Meet Drush

After you download and install the Drush software, you can open your Terminal/Console application, type drush, and hit ENTER. You should see this:

Execute a drush command. Run `drush help [command]` to view command-specific help.  Run `drush topic` to read even more documentation.

Global options (see `drush topic core-global-options` for the full list):
 -d, --debug                               Display even more information, including internal messages.                                                 
 -h, --help                                This help system.                                                                                           
 -n, --no                                  Assume 'no' as answer to all prompts.                                                                       
 -r <path>, --root=<path>                  Drupal root directory to use (default: current directory).                                                  
 -s, --simulate                            Simulate all relevant actions (don't actually change the system).                                           
 -l <>,             URI of the drupal site to use (only needed in multisite environments or when running on an alternate port). 
 -v, --verbose                             Display extra information about the command.                                                                
 -y, --yes                                 Assume 'yes' as answer to all prompts.

Core drush commands: (core)
 archive-dump (ard,    Backup your code, files, and database into a single file.                                                                                    
 archive-backup, arb)                                                                                                                                               
 archive-restore       Expand a site archive into a Drupal web site.                                                                                                
 cache-clear (cc)      Clear a specific cache, or all drupal caches.                                                                                                
 cache-get (cg)        Fetch a cached object and display it.                                                                                                        
 cache-set (cs)        Cache an object expressed in JSON or var_export() format.                                                                                    
 core-config (conf,    Edit drushrc, site alias, and Drupal settings.php files.                                                                                     
 core-cron (cron)      Run all cron hooks in all active modules for specified site.                                                                                 
 core-execute (exec,   Execute a shell command. Usually used with a site alias.                                                                                     
 core-quick-drupal     Download, install, serve and login to Drupal with minimal configuration and dependencies.                                                    
 core-requirements     Provides information about things that may be wrong in your Drupal installation, if any.                                                     
 (status-report, rq)                                                                                                                                                
 core-rsync (rsync)    Rsync the Drupal tree to/from another server using ssh.                                                                                      
 core-status (status,  Provides a birds-eye view of the current Drupal installation, if any.                                                                        
 core-topic (topic)    Read detailed documentation on a given topic.                                                                                                
 drupal-directory      Return path to a given module/theme directory.                                                                                               
 help                  Print this help message. See `drush help help` for more options.                                                                             
 image-flush           Flush all derived images for a given style.                                                                                                  
 php-eval (eval, ev)   Evaluate arbitrary php code after bootstrapping Drupal (if available).                                                                       
 php-script (scr)      Run php script(s).                                                                                                                           
 queue-list            Returns a list of all defined queues                                                                                                         
 queue-run             Run a specific queue by name                                                                                                                 
 search-index          Index the remaining search items without wiping the index.                                                                                   
 search-reindex        Force the search index to be rebuilt.                                                                                                        
 search-status         Show how many items remain to be indexed out of the total.                                                                                   
 shell-alias (sha)     Print all known shell alias records.                                                                                                         
 site-alias (sa)       Print site alias records for all known site aliases and local sites.                                                                         
 site-install (si)     Install Drupal along with modules/themes/configuration using the specified install profile.                                                  
 site-set (use)        Set a site alias to work on that will persist for the current session.                                                                       
 site-ssh (ssh)        Connect to a Drupal site's server via SSH for an interactive session or to run a shell command                                               
 test-clean            Clean temporary tables and files.                                                                                                            
 test-run              Run tests. Note that you must use the --uri option.                                                                                          
 updatedb (updb)       Apply any database updates required (as with running update.php).                                                                            
 updatedb-status       List any pending database updates.                                                                                                           
 usage-send (usend)    Send anonymous Drush usage information to statistics logging site.  Usage statistics contain the Drush command name and the Drush option     
                       names, but no arguments or option values.                                                                                                    
 usage-show (ushow)    Show Drush usage information that has been logged but not sent.  Usage statistics contain the Drush command name and the Drush option names, 
                       but no arguments or option values.                                                                                                           
 variable-delete       Delete a variable.                                                                                                                           
 variable-get (vget)   Get a list of some or all site variables and values.                                                                                         
 variable-set (vset)   Set a variable.                                                                                                                              
 version               Show drush version.                                                                                                                          
 watchdog-delete       Delete watchdog messages.                                                                                                                    
 (wd-del, wd-delete)                                                                                                                                                
 watchdog-list         Show available message types and severity levels. A prompt will ask for a choice to show watchdog messages.                                  
 watchdog-show         Show watchdog messages.                                                                                                                      
 (wd-show, ws)
Runserver commands: (runserver)
 runserver (rs)        Runs a lightweight built in http server for development.
Field commands: (field)
 field-clone           Clone a field and all its instances.                         
 field-create          Create fields and instances. Returns urls for field editing. 
 field-delete          Delete a field and its instances.                            
 field-info            View information about fields, field_types, and widgets.     
 field-update          Return URL for field editing web page.
Project manager commands: (pm)
 pm-disable (dis)      Disable one or more extensions (modules or themes).                                                                
 pm-download (dl)      Download projects from or other sources.                                                                
 pm-enable (en)        Enable one or more extensions (modules or themes).                                                                 
 pm-info (pmi)         Show detailed info for one or more extensions (modules or themes).                                                 
 pm-list (pml)         Show a list of available extensions (modules and themes).                                                          
 pm-refresh (rf)       Refresh update status information.                                                                                 
 pm-releasenotes       Print release notes for given projects.                                                                            
 pm-releases (rl)      Print release information for given projects.                                                                      
 pm-uninstall          Uninstall one or more modules.                                                                                     
 pm-update (up)        Update Drupal core and contrib projects and apply any pending database updates (Same as pm-updatecode + updatedb). 
 pm-updatecode (upc)   Update Drupal core and contrib projects to latest recommended releases.                                            
 pm-updatestatus       Show a report of available minor updates to Drupal core and contrib projects.                                      
Role commands: (role)
 role-add-perm (rap)   Grant a specified permission to a role.                                                                                                      
 role-create (rcrt)    Create a new role.                                                                                                                           
 role-delete (rdel)    Delete a role.                                                                                                                               
 role-list (rls)       Display a list of all roles defined on the system.  If a role name is provided as an argument, then all of the permissions of that role will 
                       be listed.  If a permission name is provided as an option, then all of the roles that have been granted that permission will be listed.      
 role-remove-perm      Remove a specified permission from a role.                                                                                                   
SQL commands: (sql)
 sql-cli (sqlc)        Open a SQL command-line interface using Drupal's credentials.            
 sql-connect           A string for connecting to the DB.                                       
 sql-create            Create a database.                                                       
 sql-drop              Drop all tables in a given database.                                     
 sql-dump              Exports the Drupal DB as SQL using mysqldump or equivalent.              
 sql-query (sqlq)      Execute a query against the site database.                               
 sql-sync              Copy and import source database to target database. Transfers via rsync.
User commands: (user)
 user-add-role (urol)  Add a role to the specified user accounts.                                    
 user-block (ublk)     Block the specified user(s).                                                  
 user-cancel (ucan)    Cancel a user account with the specified name.                                
 user-create (ucrt)    Create a user account with the specified name.                                
 user-information      Print information about the specified user(s).                                
 user-login (uli)      Display a one time login link for the given user account (defaults to uid 1). 
 user-password (upwd)  (Re)Set the password for the user account with the specified name.            
 user-remove-role      Remove a role from the specified user accounts.                               
 user-unblock (uublk)  Unblock the specified user(s).
Other commands: (make,sar)
 make                  Turns a makefile into a working Drupal codebase.  
 make-generate         Generate a makefile from the current Drupal site. 
 search-and-replace    Replace strings in text fields in all content.    

As you can see, there are a lot of things that Drush can do. Our next post in this blog series will demonstrate how to download and install a new Drupal 7 website using only Drush.


Bill's avatar
Thanks for this write up. Always nice to have some one give you a step by step that works.
Areal's avatar
Yes, drush is software.
sudo apt-get install drush
#POOR SLOPPY SOLUTION this will install some, almost random version of Drush (based on your Linus OS distro and Version) Which will more than likely be the wrong version.
Anderson Cardoso Silva's avatar
Anderson Cardoso Silva
I tryied: sudo apt-get install drush

but it gave me this error:

The following packages have unmet dependencies:
drush : Depends: php-console-table but it is not going to be installed

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